Military Review

Soviet tank aces. Konstantin Samokhin

Soviet tank aces. Konstantin Samokhin

During the Great Patriotic War, Soviet tank crews made a huge contribution to the victory over the enemy. In the most difficult summer months of 1941, sacrificing equipment and their lives, they saved the infantry, giving the Red Army at least some chance of retreating to new positions, delaying enemy advances, standing in the way of the German wedges with a steel wall. All of them: those who died in the first battle, and those who chalked up dozens of destroyed enemy vehicles, as best they could, defended their homeland. It's just that someone, due to better training, tactical literacy, luck and luck, made great strides in the field of destroying enemy armored vehicles, having entered their name into the cohort of Soviet tank aces. One such hero was Konstantin Samokhin of the famous 4th Tank Brigade Katukov, a fellow soldier of the most famous Soviet tanker Dmitry Lavrinenko.

Life path of Konstantin Samokhin before the war

The famous Soviet tank ace was born on 14 on March 1915 of the year, although even in award documents you can find different birth dates for both 1916 and 1917 year. The future officer of the Red Army was born at the Budarino station, which is now part of the village of Cherkesovsky in the territory of the Novoanninsky district of the Volgograd region. At the same time, information about the life of a tanker before the start of World War II is extremely small.

It is known that in the 1928 year, Konstantin Mikhailovich Samokhin joined the Komsomol, and in the 1933 year he was accepted into the party, becoming a member of the CPSU (b). Before World War II, Samokhin managed to graduate from the Kiev Tank Technical School. Most likely, the basics of control and command of the tank Samokhin received on BT series machines. At least on January 1 of 1936 of the 77 tanks of the school’s 50 vehicles, it was precisely the BT-2, BT-5 and BT-7 high-speed tanks, of which the BT-37 tanks made up the lion's share of 2. After completing his training, he managed to take part in the battles of the Soviet-Finnish war, where on 21 of January 1940 of the year he was seriously wounded. For participating in this conflict, Konstantin Samokhin received his first award, on May 20 of 1940, his chest decorated the medal “For Military Merit”.

Konstantin Mikhailovich Samokhin. Photo from the family archive

The difficult beginning of World War II

Konstantin Samokhin met the Great Patriotic War as an officer of the 15th Panzer Division, which was part of the emerging 16th Mechanized Corps of the Kiev Special Military District. The division was stationed near the border in the city of Stanislav (today Ivano-Frankivsk). The corps itself was part of the 12 Army and initially acted as part of the troops of the South-Western Front formed after the outbreak of war, and then was transferred to the Southern Front. On June 1 of 1941 of the year, the corps included an 681 tank, of which new were only 4 KV tanks. Konstantin Samokhin himself met the war on the BT-7 tank, the commander of a tank company in the 30-th tank regiment.

The division did not participate in the battles for a long time, having entered the battle only by the end of the first ten days of July in the Berdichev area. During numerous redeployments in the rear, the division lost the material part, which failed due to breakdowns. By July 15, the division, like the entire 16th mechanized corps, suffered heavy losses; in the battles in the Ruzhin area, the commander of the 30th tank regiment, Colonel Nikitin, died. In early August, the remnants of the 15-th Panzer Division died in the Uman boiler, where they acted as part of the group of Major General Pavel Ponedelin. 14 of August 1941 of the year 15-I Panzer Division was disbanded. At the same time, Konstantin Samokhin and Dmitry Lavrinenko, who served together in the same division, were able to escape captivity and went to their own.

Damaged Soviet tank BT-7

The personnel of the 15 Panzer Division, which had survived by that time, was partially sent to the Stalingrad Region for reformation. On the territory of the region, the Stalingrad Training Armored Training Center was formed, on the basis of which the formation of the 4-th tank brigade of Colonel Mikhail Efimovich Katukov was conducted. Subsequently, this formation will become famous, becoming the 1-th Guards Tank Brigade, and its commander, soldiers and officers covered themselves with unfading glory, showing their best qualities during the battle for Moscow in the fall and winter of the 1941 year. In the new part, Lieutenant Konstantin Samokhin became the commander of the 1th company of light tanks of the BT 2th battalion, commanded by the future Hero of the Soviet Union Captain Anatoly Raftopullo (another officer who left the 30th tank regiment of the 15th tank division).

Photos from the family archive

On the battlefields near Moscow

23 September 1941 year formed 4-I tank brigade was sent to the suburbs by rail. By September 28, the brigade’s units were concentrated in the area of ​​the Kubinka station and Akulovo village, where the connection was additionally replenished with BT-5 and BT-7 light tanks that had gone out of repair. At the same time, the third tank battalion of the brigade remained in Kubinka, as it still did not receive the materiel. October 2 The 4-I tank brigade was advanced towards Mtsensk, where from 4 to 11 on October Katukov’s brigade fought heavy battles against the advancing Guderian tanks, making extensive use of tank ambush tactics. The fighting of the Soviet tank brigade seriously slowed down the advance of the enemy forces and ruined the life of the 4 German tank division and its command. Samokhin, along with his company of light tanks, entered the battle of 7 on October, defending the line of the Ilkovo-Golovlyovo-Sheino brigade in the vicinity of the village of Sheino. Part of the BT-7 tanks, Lieutenant Samokhin ordered to be buried in the ground, the remaining ones were kept as a mobile reserve. After a long battle, in which tanks from the 1 battalion, including the vehicles of senior lieutenant Burda and the chief of staff of the 1 battalion, lieutenant Vorobyev, had to be sent to help Samokhin’s company, the attack was repelled with heavy losses for the enemy. The soldiers of the 4th Tank Brigade then announced that the enemy’s 11 tanks were disabled.

By the time the November battles near Moscow began, the brigade was replenished with new equipment, now Samokhin was already at war on the T-34-76 tank. The crew of Samokhin was especially distinguished during the liquidation of the skyrman bridgehead. This area was defended by the 10-I Panzer Division of the Germans. The fighting in this direction began on November 12, and by November 13-14 the enemy’s bridgehead was liquidated. For the battle in the area of ​​Skirmanovo and Kozlovo (at that time Istra district, Moscow region) Konstantin Samokhin was introduced to the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, but in the end he was awarded the Order of Lenin.

Lined up in the Skirmanovo German tank PzKpfw III

The award sheet noted that in the battles for Skirmanovo and Kozlov, Konstantin Samokhin showed exceptional courage and courage. Despite the contusion, the officer remained in battle for 20 hours, completing the command assignments. During the battle, Samokhin’s tank destroyed 6 enemy tanks, three anti-tank guns, a heavy anti-tank gun (the document may refer to the 88-mm German anti-aircraft guns), 10 bunkers, 4 machine gun nests, 2 mortars and exterminated to Hitler’s company. It was especially noted that, having used up 5 of ammunition, Samokhin continued to fight, throwing enemy dugouts and trenches with hand grenades from the tank.

In early December 1941, Samokhin again excelled. With a company of X-NUMX T-7 tanks, he suddenly attacked the positions of the Germans in the village of Nadovrazhino, supporting the soldiers of the 34-th Infantry Division, he prepared the operation for several days, observing the positions of the Germans in the village. For the attack, night time was chosen, while a blizzard periodically began. As a result of a bold attack, Samokhin’s company destroyed in the village up to 18 tanks, 5 self-propelled guns, about 6 cars, 20 motorcycles and up to 50 enemy soldiers. Having made a raid on the village, the tankers managed to retreat in time, and the German tanks, who came to the aid of the garrison of the village, did not understand the situation, for some time exchanged fire with the garrison of the village, having lost their orientation. In December 200, Konstantin Samokhin received the next rank - Guard Senior Lieutenant. And in February of the 1941 of the year he met the guards as a captain, in the Katukov brigade he was considered one of the most promising officers, and the entire squadron showed itself in heavy battles near Moscow from the best side.

The death of Konstantin Samokhin

Captain Konstantin Samokhin died on February 22 of 1942 a little before he reached 27 years during a battle near the small village of Arzhaniki in the Smolensk Region. These days, the 1-I Guards Tank Brigade conducted stubborn battles to liberate the Karmanovsky district of the Smolensk region. Later, Anatoly Raftopullo recalled that even on February 19 in the battle for the village of Petushki, which consisted of 80 yards, Samokhin almost died in the battle. The battle for the village itself was very difficult, the village passed from hand to hand three times. During the battle, an enemy shell hit the tank, commanded by a brave commander, Konstantin got a heavy shell shock, did not hear well, but refused to leave battle formations and go to the rear for treatment. On the night of February 22, Katukov personally congratulated Samokhin on conferring the rank of captain, Raftopullo recalled. On the same day, during the assault on the village of Arzhaniki, a brave Soviet tanker was killed.

According to the memoirs of the former commander of the tank regiment of the 1-th Guards Tank Brigade Y. Ya. Komlova, the task of capturing the village of Arzhaniki was set in the evening of February 22. To take the village, two combined groups of tanks were created, one of which was brought into action by captain Konstantin Samokhin. Samokhin’s tank was hit near the village itself, at least three heavy shells fell into it, and the fighting vehicle caught fire. All crew members died in this battle, the only one who managed to get out of the burning car was Samokhin, whose body was found near the tank.

Tanks T-34 1-th Guards Tank Brigade, February 1942, photo:

In his book "Soviet Tank Aces" Mikhail Baryatinsky writes that Samokhin with the main group of tanks retreated from the village, since the tankers could not develop success. The infantry and other tanks could not break through to them, and the Germans concentrated strong artillery fire from the depths of the defense in the village. At the same time, three immobilized Soviet tanks remained in the village itself. One of them went on radio with other units, and Samokhin decided to save his fellow soldiers. In addition, the crew of Pugachev and Litvinenko, with whom Konstantin fought in the same tank before, got in touch. Returning to the village with a platoon of thirty-four, Samokhin found two tanks burned, the third tank was shot down, wounded soldiers were recovered from it, and the car itself was towed. It was at this moment when trying to evacuate the wrecked car from the battlefield and saving his comrades, a heavy shell hit the armor of the fighting vehicle in Samokhin’s tank. The entire crew of the tank died in a fire.

Officially, Konstantin Samokhin counted 30 of the destroyed tanks and self-propelled units of the enemy. At the same time, in some sources, it has been recently mentioned that Samokhin destroyed 69 enemy tanks and many other enemy equipment. But here we are talking about the general account of his tank company, which he commanded for six months. Despite the outstanding results demonstrated in the most difficult battles of the fall-winter of 1941 and the beginning of 1942, Konstantin Samokhin was not awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, although the command presented him for this award. This question did not arise even after the end of the war.

At the same time, the merits of Konstantin Samokhin were nevertheless marked by numerous orders and medals. For success in battle, he was awarded the Order of Lenin, two Orders of the Red Banner, the Order of the Red Star, medals "For Courage" and "For Military Merit", and also posthumously medals "For the Defense of Kiev" and "For the Defense of Moscow". An interesting fact is that by Order No. 73 of May 7 of 1943 of the 1 Guards Tank Brigade, Captain Konstantin Mikhailovich Samokhin was posthumously listed on the personnel list of units and divisions of the brigade. The hero's memory was immortalized where his vital point was cut short. Not far from the southern outskirts of the village of Arzhaniki, a memorial obelisk was erected at the site of the death of the officer. And in the village of Karmanovo, Smolensk region, where a tank hero was buried in a mass grave, one of the main streets is named after him.
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  1. WILL
    WILL 25 November 2019 05: 23 New
    Eternal Memory to Heroes! 30 Tanks Destroyed !!! An unthinkable figure ... in one year of the war! Thanks To Such People - We Won! soldier
    I believe that Konstantin Mikhailovich Samokhin - should receive the Star of the Hero, Posthumously ...
  2. Vadim T.
    Vadim T. 25 November 2019 06: 46 New
    I still can’t understand why, in the initial period of the war, not only the Hero, but even an order or medal was given extremely rarely for the outstanding exploits. After all, the farther inland the German moved, the fiercer our fighters fought. Senior Lieutenant Samokhin is a prime example. He, like no other, deserves the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Thanks to such people, the country survived and won. Eternal memory to the heroes.
    1. kalibr
      kalibr 25 November 2019 07: 49 New
      Vadim! There were different circumstances. For example, my stepfather also did not receive a Hero for blowing up a strategic bridge, which was mined but did not explode. So he drove into it on a locomotive, hung with mines. Under enemy fire. And posthumously ... he was introduced. But when he came to the unit alive, his brigade commander said that the Red Star was enough, and he would not get a hero until he, the brigade commander, became one! People ... they are "people" in war. The same Samokhin may have fought "too well" and it stung someone's eyes.
      1. BAI
        BAI 25 November 2019 08: 56 New
        Katukov did not "pinch" his subordinates. All memoirs speak about it. But during the period of retreat, it was generally not accepted to award. It was necessary to do something really outstanding. And then, it did not give a guarantee.
    2. The leader of the Redskins
      The leader of the Redskins 25 November 2019 08: 49 New
      There is a doc film "Hero of the Soviet Union". If I am not mistaken, Wings of Russia studio. It explained that the leadership of the army and the country was reinsured in 41-42 with the assignment of a high rank against the background of temporary defeats, boilers and TD. For that, from the 44th the "starfall" began.
  3. GKS 2111
    GKS 2111 25 November 2019 06: 52 New
    Thank you! I always look forward to articles about such people as warriors of the Great Patriotic War, and all the wars to this day, which describe the fate and deeds of our heroes, on such men and everything holds ...
  4. rocket757
    rocket757 25 November 2019 07: 07 New
    They fought for the MOTHERLAND!
    Honor to them and eternal memory!
    1. Serg koma
      Serg koma 25 November 2019 15: 33 New
      Quote: rocket757
      They fought for the MOTHERLAND!
      Honor to them and eternal memory!

  5. Olgovich
    Olgovich 25 November 2019 07: 55 New
    In my opinion, in Mikhin's memoirs "Gunners, Stalin gave the order!" there is an episode about a lonely tank that they met at a stack of straw (he stood there, repairing the chassis.).

    After some time, a column of enemy tanks marched in that direction.

    What was Mihin’s surprise when, passing this place again, an hour later, he found 9 destroyed German tanks (the entire convoy) near the burning stack, and at T34, only a bunch of spent cartridges, the tank itself left .....

    People routinely did their job and went on business ....
    1. not main
      not main 25 November 2019 21: 56 New
      Quote: Olgovich
      People routinely did their job and went on business ....

      Better not say!
  6. Andrey VOV
    Andrey VOV 25 November 2019 08: 46 New
    I looked at what BT-2 was like ... my goodness ... and people like that. Our heroes fought and destroyed the Nazis .. yes for one thing only. That’s how orders and medals were fought on this!
    1. igordok
      igordok 25 November 2019 10: 15 New
      Part of the BT-7 tanks Lieutenant Samokhin ordered dig in to the ground, the remaining kept as a rolling reserve.

      Most likely the article is an inaccuracy. It is unlikely that the tanks were being dug, most likely dug. BOTS are certainly good, but a full tank is better.
  7. The leader of the Redskins
    The leader of the Redskins 25 November 2019 08: 50 New
    The name of this feat. The memory and glory of such people will pass through the centuries.
  8. BAI
    BAI 25 November 2019 08: 52 New

    There is indeed confusion with the dates of birth in the documents, but also with death, it seems, too. Which is not surprising in principle. In the "Memory of the People" my father is listed as both killed and alive.
    1. Alex 1970
      Alex 1970 26 November 2019 12: 10 New
      My grandfather in the "memory of the people" has two entries with different patronymics and Perfilievich and Porfirevich, and from a small village in Transbaikalia, when asked to correct inaccuracies, they answered that they did not combine the entries and did not correct inaccuracies as it was written in the documents. Moreover, in both cases, the date of birth is incorrect.
    SERGEY SERGEEVICS 25 November 2019 09: 52 New
    They are tankers, always with dignity and with heroism, doing their job. Eternal memory to him.
  10. fighter angel
    fighter angel 25 November 2019 09: 53 New
    Eternal memory to the Hero!
    Thanks to the author. Wonderful article.
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  12. bubalik
    bubalik 25 November 2019 14: 34 New
    Anatoly Raftopullo recalled

    Tank ace, participant in World War II, guard colonel, Hero of the Soviet Union.
    Gold Star Medal No. 694 of the Hero of the Soviet Union (January 11, 1942);
    three orders of Lenin
    two orders of the Red Banner (for battles on Lake Hassan and the Soviet-Finnish War);
    Order of the Patriotic War I degree;
    Order of the Red Star;
    1. BAI
      BAI 25 November 2019 16: 48 New
      Author of the book "Thirty-Four Attack". There is about Samokhin, and about Lavrinenko, and about Burda.
  13. Stas57
    Stas57 25 November 2019 15: 17 New
    Samokhin, together with his company of light tanks, entered the battle on October 7, defending the line of the Ilkovo-Golovlyovo-Sheino brigade in the vicinity of the village of Sheino.
    After a long battle, in which tanks from the 1st battalion had to be sent to help Samokhin’s company, including the vehicles of senior lieutenant Burda and the chief of staff of the 1st battalion, lieutenant Vorobyov, the attack was repelled with heavy losses for the enemy.

    there was no fight 7,10
    1. Serg koma
      Serg koma 25 November 2019 18: 14 New
      Quote: Stas57
      there was no fight 7,10
      Probably the numbers "beguiled", or "brought together" everything that happened at the turn ... The defensive battle at this turn (Ilkovo - Golovlevo - Sheino) was on 09.10.1941/10.10.41/XNUMX, after which, on the night of XNUMX/XNUMX/XNUMX the brigade withdrew to Mtsensk.
      On the night of October 7, the brigade brigade led to the line Ilkovo - Golovlevo - Sheino. The 4th Panzer Brigade, with attached forces, defended itself at a 15 km front. On October 7 and 8, the adversary was not active, tankers and infantry equipped and deepened the defense. By October 8, the flanks of the brigade were covered by units of the 11th TBR, 34th Regiment of the NKVD and 201st VDD.

      06.10.1941/12/XNUMX. The area of ​​the village of First Warrior (XNUMX km southwest of Mtsensk)
      Interview with Ivan Lyubushkin shortly after the battle (nine enemy tanks were destroyed) to Yury Zhukov, correspondent of the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper:

      “Then, under the First Warrior, I received an order to go to the left flank and take a place for a tank duel. They just reached the intended point - one shell hit my car, but did not penetrate the armor. I myself sat at the gun and ordered the crew: “Give armor-piercing! Let's see whose steel is stronger. " And he began to beat.
      Shells pounded on our armor all the time, but I continued to fire. I lit one German tank, then a second, followed by a third. Shells were delivered to me by all crew members. Hit the fourth tank - it doesn’t burn, but I see that the Nazis are jumping out of it. He sent a fragmentation shell - finished off. Then he defeated several more tanks.
      At this time, nevertheless, some Hitler man managed to hit my car in the side. This shell pierced the armor and exploded inside the tank. The crew was blinded. Chad. Radio operator Duvanov and driver Fedorov groaned. The platoon commander who was in my tank, Lieutenant Kukarin — he had just returned from the raid, went with Burda — climbed to the driver, sees he is stunned. Kukarin helps Fedorov. I continue to fire, but then I hear Duvanov saying: "My leg is torn off." I shout to Fedorov, - at that time he already caught his breath a little: “Start the engine!”
      Fedorov felt for the starter button, pressed ... The engine started, but the speeds, except for the back, did not turn on. Somehow we crawled backwards, took cover behind our KV tank, bandaged the radio operator’s leg there, and removed empty sleeves.
      It would be necessary to get out of the battle and make repairs, but then I saw German tanks in the bushes that were firing. Very well they were visible to me, it was a pity to leave them.
      My main scope is broken, but the auxiliary remains. I tell the guys: “Give me the shells! We knock one more time. ” And he began to beat reptiles.
      The Nazis see that our tank is still shooting - they again begin to beat us. One shell hit the tower, didn’t penetrate, but a piece of armor flew off from the strike and hit me on the right leg, which was on the trigger. The leg became feelingless. I thought it was already gone: now everything was shot forever, like Duvanov. But I felt - there is no blood, intact. He set it aside, began to press with his left foot. Inconveniently. Then he began to bend and pull the trigger with his right hand. It’s better, but also not very convenient.
      Finishing this battle in the bushes, I still lit another tank. Our other cars rushed forward, but I only have reverse gear. I left the battle. I handed over the wounded to the orderlies, and my leg itself came to its senses. The car was repaired in two hours. And once again that day I managed to fight ... "

      The title Hero of the Soviet Union Ivan Lyubushkin was awarded on October 10, 1941. He died in battle on June 30, 1942.
      1. Stas57
        Stas57 26 November 2019 14: 33 New
        here is a movie in the subject
  14. Charlie
    Charlie 25 November 2019 15: 39 New
    And that the 16th mechanized corps of so many tanks had the latest only 4 kW? And even the T-34 was not? Doubts however prevail
    1. BAI
      BAI 25 November 2019 16: 57 New
      There was no T-34. HF data are different. According to VIKI there were 31 KV-2. Po: "June 22: There was no" surprise "! [How Stalin missed the blow]" Melekhov Andrey M. - 4 KV without specification (KV-1 or KV-2).
  15. midshipman
    midshipman 25 November 2019 17: 19 New
    Dear readers of "VO". I personally admire K. Samokhin. Eternal memory to him.
    In "VO" I published an article "Fight to the death, but survive". This is about the feat of the elder Z. Kolobanov, who at the end of August 1941 near Gatchina destroyed 26 fascist tanks with the help of one KV tank. There is a monument to him near Gatchina.
    And my father, the gunner major died on the Leningrad Front on 27.12/1941. XNUMX year.
  16. Lars971a
    Lars971a 25 November 2019 17: 44 New
    I don’t remember exactly in the second or third grade, in the winter I read the story, I don’t remember the author, but he called it after my "Stronger Armor." in 1984 Guards. tank regiment in the GSVG. So Guards. captain Samokhin Konstantin Mikhailovich, indirectly changed my life ................. Eternal Memory to the Hero!
    1. Svarog51
      Svarog51 25 November 2019 20: 00 New
      Andrei hi Look for the book "Brighter than a Legend" - it is unlikely that it will leave you indifferent. Simple, but I don’t remember the author because of the age.
      P.S. GSVG 83-85 good drinks
      1. Alex 1970
        Alex 1970 26 November 2019 12: 16 New
        GSVG 89-91, Schönebeck rf / pp 57778
  17. Charlie
    Charlie 26 November 2019 18: 26 New
    Quote: Andrey VOV
    I looked at what BT-2 was like ... my goodness ... and people like that. Our heroes fought and destroyed the Nazis .. yes for one thing only. That’s how orders and medals were fought on this!

    Read the characteristics of German tanks as of the summer of the 41st year. There, you can actually laugh at what the Germans fought